Osprey hang-out

Osprey are so unique that they are are no longer considered to be one of the fish hawks, but rather their own distinct family (https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/osprey). We spied this Osprey sitting atop a dead tree and couldn’t resist stopping to watch him as he preened, fluffed himself up, and whistled – but he never left his perch.

Osprey were greatly endangered in the 1950’s-60’s, prior to the ban on the pesticide DDT. But they have made a successful comeback in recent decades, and we see them everywhere here in southeast Florida.

IMG_9418

I love this direct and succinct description of the Osprey‘s habitat and feeding habits: “Diet consists almost exclusively of live fish, which it catches by diving and hitting the water feet first.  Breeds wherever there are fish . . .“. (Smithsonian Field Guide to the Birds of North America, p.118).

IMG_9413This powerful, large raptor displays a fascinating behavior that I learned recently from a local naturalist. After the Osprey has caught a fish in both talons, he actually turns the fish so that the fish is pointed head first, in order to decrease wind resistance as the Osprey flies to its perch to eat his catch!

Check here for more interesting info!

11 thoughts on “Osprey hang-out

  1. As you know, I love Ospreys. Great pictures! I have seen our Ospreys transport the fish head first many times. And on their way to the perch, they shake off the water midair!

  2. Beautiful shots. I’ve noticed that ospreys seem to eat their fish head-first. I am not sure why, but I have several times seen osprey fly away to another perch with headless fish.

      • When Ospreys catch a fish, they always eat the head first. If something bothers them (t ex people with dogs walking by, or a pestering fish crow) at their first perch, they take the fish and move to another one, just to be able to eat undisturbed. Also, when the Ospreys are courting or when the female is incubating, the male catches the fish, eats the head and then brings the best part to the female at the nest. He then takes what’s left (often the tail piece) and goes to his perch to eat it. The same happens during the nesting season when he feeds the young and the female. Only that sometimes there’s nothing left for the male and he has to go fishing again for himself.

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